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Deadlocked climate talks run into extra time


Climate-change negotiations in Warsaw were extended into Saturday after rich and developing nations failed to agree on mechanisms to tackle global warming and its consequences.


UN climate talks resumed on Saturday in Warsaw more than 12 hours after they were to have delivered a roadmap towards a global pact to stave off dangerous global warming.

Almost 200 nations were deadlocked over how to step up aid to ease the impact of climate change on developing nations.

Six leading environmental organisations had already abandoned the United Nations Climate Change Conference on Thursday, declaring that the ailing talks were "on track to deliver virtually nothing".

Exhausted negotiators and ministers shuttled to and fro in the early morning hours to try and lay some groundwork for an ambitious climate pact that is supposed to be signed in Paris by December 2015.

"If we don't succeed in Paris, the chances of us meeting the goal of limiting global warming to two degrees will be limited, or none," French Development Minister Pascal Canfin warned on Friday.

The Warsaw meeting had little to show after two weeks except for a deal on new rules to protect tropical forests, which soak up carbon dioxide as they grow.

"On finance there has been no progress," Claudia Salerno of Venezuela, who represents a group of developing nations including China and Indonesia, said late on Friday.

Developed nations, which promised in 2009 to raise climate aid to $100 billion a year after 2020 from $10 billion a year in the period 2010-12, were resisting calls by the developing world to set targets for 2013-19.

A draft text merely urged developed nations, which have been more focused on spurring economic growth than on fixing climate change, to set "increasing levels" of aid.

The talks were also considering a new "Warsaw Mechanism" to help developing nations cope with loss and damage from extreme events such as heat waves, droughts and floods, and creeping threats such as rising sea levels and desertification.

Developing nations insisted on a "mechanism" - to show it was separate from existing structures - even though rich countries say that it will not get new funds beyond the planned $100 billion a year from 2020.

Progress on deforestation

In a lone step forward, governments agreed to a set of rules for safeguarding tropical forests in a deal aimed at unlocking big investments. The new plan is backed by $280 million from the United States, Britain and Norway.

Deforestation accounts for perhaps a fifth of greenhouse gas emissions from human sources. Trees release carbon when they rot or burn.

"Governments have shown their firm commitment to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation," UN climate chief Christiana Figueres said in a statement.

Many delegates also said they wanted a clearer understanding of when nations will publish their plans for long-term cuts in greenhouse gases in the run-up to the Paris summit in 2015.

A major sticking point was the insistence of some developing nations such as China and India, their growth fuelled by fossil fuel combustion, on guarantees of less onerous emissions curbs compared to wealthy nations.

European climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard accused a group of "like-minded" countries of opposing a "push" towards the 2015 deal by insisting on the rich-poor country firewall.

"It is not acceptable to the European Union, but I also think to really many others," she told journalists.

A group calling itself the Like-Minded Developing Countries, which includes China and India as well as Pakistan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela, took issue with what they called the "brazen attack".

"The EU chief is responsible for damaging seriously the atmosphere of confidence and trust in this process," said Venezuelan climate envoy Claudia Salerno, who claimed to speak on the group's behalf.

As emissions continue to grow year after year, developing nations say their developed counterparts must have more responsibility for curbs given their long history of fossil-fuel combustion.

The West, though, insists emerging economies must do their fair share, considering that China is now the world's biggest emitter of CO2, with India in fourth place after the United States and Europe.


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